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Zucchini Pear Salad – Susan O’Connor

This week’s recipe was created and submitted by our very own Susan O’Connor, in Everett. Despite not being fond of zucchini or pear, there she was with both in her Box of Good. Combining her creative juices and some orange juice for the dressing, she whipped up this delicious mixture of colors, perfectly balancing the tension between salad items and fruit items. I tested it out on my in-laws last week (always a risky move!), but it was an immediate hit. The dressing really completes the whole thing.

Thank you, Susan!

Salad:

  • 2 zucchini – sliced thin
  • 2 pears – cored and sliced thin
  • 3 Tbsp onion – minced
  • 2 mandarins – diced
  • 1 red pepper – diced
  • 1 cucumber – sliced thin

Dressing:

  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (2 oranges, squeezed)
  • 1 tsp honey/vanilla
  • Pinch of chili flake
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Orange zest

Mix dressing, pour over salad and toss.

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Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Dressing

Yield: 8 servings | Prep Time: 1 Hour | Source: eatingwell.com

Ingredients

 

  • 2½ cups water
  • ½ cup regular pearled barley
  • ½ cup uncooked wild rice, rinsed and drained
  • 2 LB sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾” pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh rosemary
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate arils

 

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan combine the water and barley. Bring to a boil. Stir in wild rice; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 40 minutes or until tender. Drain off any excess water.
  2. Meanwhile, place a 15×10-inch baking pan in oven. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  3. In a large bowl combine sweet potatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, ½ tablespoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Carefully spread potatoes in heated pan. Roast 25 minutes or until tender and brown, stirring once after 10 minutes.
  4. In a serving dish combine wild rice mixture, sweet potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add parsley, green onions and rosemary; toss to combine. Sprinkle with pomegranate arils.
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Cheers To Your Health

It is amazing how we can anticipate Christmas for months and the next day, I mean the next day, send out a search party to retrieve that scale that we hid a few months back around Halloween to assess how much weight we need to lose in the new year.

The goal is to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible. It is the same goal every year, only the year changes. This year happens to be 2019. It might look like 10lbs. or more, but the real goal is to be as healthy as possible. And being healthy looks different than the path that most Americans are on. Metformin and Statins might help make your “numbers” look better, but they are not healing heart disease and diabetes.

Today, our society and much of the world is suffering from diseases of excesses. Hypertension is too much salt, heart disease is too much fat, and diabetes is too much sugar. But really it comes down to a diet high in processed foods and not enough vegetables and fruit. 75% of Americans do not eat a single piece of fruit a day. I wonder how many vegetables that group is eating?

All the growth in the “organic” food sector is mostly processed foods, some new ice cream or potato or quinoa chips. Many consumers are making better processed food choices by purchasing organic processed foods. It is a trap, a feel-good trap. People say, “It’s organic” and gives them permission to eat foods that are not helping, and in some cases hurting our bodies. Eating organic ice cream and organic cookies and organic potato chips lead down the same path as their conventional counterparts. Of course, we can eat those foods, but not every day.

I lean towards a whole food plant-based diet. I think that everyone can benefit from eating more plant-based calories from whole foods. But for some reason, eating vegetables and fruit are some of the hardest foods to incorporate into our diets. Probably because we are so busy, or we have created busy lives. With a finite amount of time and a finite amount of years, making time to eat well should be important because it fuels our lives.

The goal is to be healthy, not thinner. Thinner is a by-product. The way to be healthy is to eat whole foods as close to the source as possible. For vegetables, eat them raw or steam them or roast them and lightly season them. While the vegetables are cooking make a salad. Make enough for two days. Leftovers are some of the best food.

The great thing about eating your veggies is that your body gets an incredible immune boost filled with a plethora of phytochemicals, minerals, vitamins and fiber. And to top it off, most vegetables fall in the 100-200 calories per pound range. Maximum nutrition and less calories by eating vegetables is one of the most effective strategies to get healthy and/or remain healthy.

At Klesick’s, we deliver hope with every box of good, hope for a healthier America and a healthier you in 2019.

Cheers to your Health!

Your Farmer and Health Advocate,

 

Tristan Klesick

 

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Hummus Recipe

Yield: 8 servings | Time: 20 Minutes | Source: epicurious.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups drained canned chickpeas, liquid reserved
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus oil for drizzling
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, or to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin, plus a sprinkling for garnish
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Instructions

  1. Put everything except the parsley in a food processor and begin to process; add the chickpea liquid or water as needed to allow the machine to produce a smooth puree.
  2. Taste and adjust the seasoning (I often find I like to add much more lemon juice). Serve, drizzled with the olive oil and sprinkled with a bit more cumin or paprika and some parsley.
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Wow!

It is finally here! Thanksgiving came so early that Christmas seemed like a longways off and BAM! Well hopefully, you are mostly ready for this Holiday Season because it is happening now! I know that for us it can get a bit crazy at the Klesick home. At any given moment we can go from a few of us at home to 25 people and it looks like Christmas is trending towards 25 at the farm.

Last week, the Klesick team took a field trip to the WSU Bread Lab in Burlington. We rolled up our sleeves and prepared a meal with Niels Brisbane, WSU Culinary Director. We made pasta, lots and lots of pasta. We made all sorts of shapes and sizes of pasta. The roasted vegetables with a hazelnut, roasted chili pepper and olive oil dressing – incredible! As was the fennel and onion sauce for the pasta, OH MY WORD! I would have never thought to cook onions and fennel together and then blend them to make a pasta sauce. I love to cook and eat really good food and it was fun to bless my team with a fun cooking/Christmas party. They even stayed and helped with the dishes!

This week’s newsletter (found here) features a hummus recipe (found here) which is a perfect side dish to bring with your vegetable platter to all the holiday parties you have scheduled for the next few weeks 🙂 Be sure to stock up on chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and whatever spices you want to mix in!

Lastly, keep in mind the upcoming delivery day changes for the week of Christmas. Some minor adjustments have been made with the holiday falling on a Tuesday, so double check your day. And of course, if you have travel plans for the next couple weeks, be sure to change your next delivery date from your account online, or contact us and we’ll handle it for you.

We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season!

See you after Christmas!

Your Farmer and Health Advocate,

 

Tristan

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Lemon Quinoa with Dill and Zucchini

Lemon Quinoa with Dill and Zucchini

Yield: 4-6 servings | Source: thekitchn.com

Ingredients

 

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped green onions (about 6)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup quinoa, well-rinsed and drained
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 small)
  • 4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

Instructions

  1. To make the quinoa, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the green onions (the oil might splatter!) and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the dark green parts wilt but do not turn brown, about 2 minutes. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grains start to crackle and turn dry, about 3 minutes. Add the water, the currants, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, finely grate the zest of the lemon until you have 1 teaspoonful, and then squeeze the lemon until you have 2 tablespoons juice.
  3. To finish, remove the pan from the heat. Stir the zucchini, lemon juice and zest, 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons of the dill, and the pepper into the quinoa. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Cover and let sit for 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the quinoa to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons each of sesame seeds and dill, and serve.
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What’s Cooking

What are you cooking up for the holidays? What are your family favorites? So often food is at the center of our holidays, birthdays, summer picnics…. A favorite dish is tied to a favorite season which ties everything back to memories.

I know for our family the one thing that gets made every year is pumpkin roles. Flour everywhere, every cookie sheet is filled with pumpkin bread waiting to be rolled up in kitchen towels and then filled with a healthy version of cream cheese filling. They are beautiful and tasty.

Roots and Fruit: 

This week we are building boxes filled with fruit and roots. Not really, but we are purposely omitting lettuce from the boxes of good. The lettuce world is sorting out the premature move to Arizona and Southern California from Mid California.

Every fall produce starts to head back down I-5 as the local produce season starts to wind down and more produce is sourced from Oregon and Northern California and then Mid California and finally down to Southern California, Arizona and Mexico. Of course, there is some local produce available year-round, but the weather for growing fresh crops is primarily down south. About mid-May fresh produce begins its return to the Northwest, reversing its course and comes back up the I-5 Corridor until we are in full production in the Northwest again. We are so blessed to have so much incredible fresh produce available year-round and much of it local.

The recent food warning on Romaine lettuce, that has since been lifted, caused a wrinkle in production. Most of the Romaine lettuce had been growing in Mid California regions and was nearing its growing cycle when the CDC issued its warning. So, the lettuce growers, basically, tilled in a lot of good food and shifted to Southern California a little earlier than was planned for. Which has caused a gap in production of leafy greens since Southern California and Arizona were not quite ready to harvest.

The long and short of it is. Lettuce is scarce and expensive, so I decided to build a menu around roasted vegetables and a Dill, cucumber, tomato salad recipe. And by next week, lettuce will be more reasonably priced and back in the menus.

While I was doing some research on dill for our plant powerhouse feature, we do weekly, I was like, “WOW, I should eat Dill every week”. Dill is definitely an amazing herb and offers so much healing potential from tying up free radicals to aiding digestion. I might even add it to my list of crops to grow for next year!

Enjoy,

Your farmer and health advocate

Tristan

 

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Farming and Family!

Anyone else have summer chores that just didn’t get done?!!!! I have a few that are pressing, but I am content with what we did get done. And often what is left over or unfinished would have been nice to finish, but in reality, those projects could wait.

I also have noticed that as I get older, my energy or appetite to tackle as many big projects is waning. When I look back over the last 20 years, I think “we did that”. We resurrected a dilapidated farm house, rescued a farm from the chemical agriculture world, planted habitat for wildlife, planted a 200-tree orchard, built farm buildings, poured concrete, fenced and refenced 40 acres, and farmed with Belgian Draft horses. All the while having babies and raising children, seeing them grow to adulthood and find their spouses. It is overwhelming just recounting that and I am sure we were overwhelmed while we were doing that! For that season, Joelle and I had the energy of 30-year old’s!

But now that I am turning another year older and I look back I can only smile at all the memories, all the hard work and heartache, all the love and all the life. And because I am an eternal optimist, I can hardly wait for the next 20 years to unfold. What will this life bring, what changes are on the horizon?

For sure, life is not static, and I know that Joelle and I will continue to live rich meaningful lives surrounded by our family and grandkids! And those grandkids are running circles around us, it just seems like it was yesterday that our parents were playing ball or games with my children, and now it is Joelle and I that are playing ball with our grandkids. And they are quick, I mean way quicker than my children ever were!

John Maxwell tells a story about parenting. My paraphrase. John says, “you want to let your children live to adulthood, so you can get grandkids and that is the real prize for being parents! When you see your first grandchild, ‘you think to yourself, this is the smartest human being ever born.’” As the story goes, John was at a conference sharing this story and his son was in the audience. Well John proceeded to tell everyone that Intelligence skips a generation and that his grandkids were considerably smarter than his own children. Of course, the audience, which was primarily grandparents completely understood John’s sentiments. His son caught up with him behind stage and John said, “now son that stuff about you not being as smart as your children, is all fun and..” But his son stopped him and said, “Dad, I think you are onto something, Grandpa and I were just having the same conversation about you last week!”

If I have learned anything in the last 5 decades, it is that every season of life is meaningful and important and so is every generation!

Cheers to your health,

 

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Dinner

Last week I attended the Farm Fish Come Together dinner at Swans Trail Farms in Snohomish. This dinner was hosted by the Sustainable Land Strategy (SLS) of Snohomish County. I have been Co-chair of this group for the last 4 years and every other year the SLS Executive committee host a dinner for farmers, policy makers and elected officials.

It is a powerful time to interact face to face with all the Natural Resource community. At my table were folks from Fish and Wildlife, the Puget Sound Partnership, State Legislator Derek Stanford, Terry Williams for the Tulalip Tribes and Rob Duff from the Governor’s office. The SLS hosts this dinner as meet and greet, because we believe that open dialogue about our limited natural resources between land owners and those that are tasked with managing/regulating the natural resources should find noncombative ways to work together. This is a different approach than what we are seeing unfold in DC or for that matter anywhere politics is in play. But as Dan Bartelheimer, the Snohomish County Farm Bureau President shared with the entire group, “we have more in common than less and most of us are sitting on the same side of the table.” He is absolutely right!

I have been involved in Snohomish County Land use and farmland preservation for over two decades and have donated thousands of hours during that time to imagine a community with farmers farming the land and rivers filled with Salmon. And I earnestly believe, that planning for local farmland, local food and habitat are critical for the future residents of Puget Sound.  This is no easy task when you consider the effects of climate change, sea level rise, and water shortages. And add the need for housing, education and mental health, so many compelling and real needs to balance. There is so much to consider and planning is the only way to go forward, but planning built upon relationships and from the ground up is best way to go forward.

And happily, in Puget Sound there is an earnest desire to work together from the farmer to the Governor’s mansion. Collaboration is the key to unlock a vibrant future for local food producers and for local habitat. We can have both and the Sustainable Land Strategy of Snohomish County is hard at work as a nonregulatory advisory committee. And the Farm Fish Come Together Dinner was just one part of this strategy that builds relationships to ensure a vibrant local farm community and the local habitat that make this place so beautiful!

Your Farmer and health advocate

 

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Fall Beans

Fall Beans

3,000 pounds of green beans! That is a lot of handpicked and hand selected nutrition. This has been an incredible farm season. The weather was manageable. It wasn’t too hot, it wasn’t too cold, and most rain events were welcomed. The smoke? Not so much!

Now that we are transitioning to Fall, the farm work shifts to putting the farm to “bed”. We are actively working ground that we are rotating to pasture that will be hayed for the next 3-5 years. We are also prepping the ground for garlic that we hope to plant in two weeks.

Speaking of garlic, this year’s crop was so good, large flavorful bulbs. I use garlic all the time for cooking. If I am roasting potatoes, beets, onions, or all of the above, I always toss in a few cloves. If I am sautéing or making a stir fry, I slice the garlic much like slivered almonds. And if I want to intensify the flavor of soup, I will mince it or use the garlic press add it that way. I am a big fan of garlic.

And since we are talking about garlic, John and I have decided to grow next year’s crop in hills that are going to be about 10” tall and 15” across the top. We are hoping that this will make it easier to harvest them next year. I am always tinkering and trying to find the best way to harvest or plant or just have a little less work.

Back to the farm, we are picking our last planting of green beans this week and next week. Fall beans tend to come on slower and yield a little less, but they also tend to hold a little longer on the vine than the summer plantings. A lot of growers will plant different varieties of the same crop at different times throughout the year. We see this with sweet corn where they want to stagger the harvest or tree fruit where you plant an early August apple, followed by a September apple.

Unfortunately, Organic growers, when it comes to green beans, have less options. But the Strike Bean seed happily grows from May – Frost and this year it did not disappoint. Beans are my go to snack when I am in the field – crisp, tender green beans.

Bon Appetit,
Thanks for eating Klesick Farms green beans and garlic! Tristan